Is "Cabin Fever" the gooiest, yuckiest horror movie since Peter Jackson went wild with chainsaws and entrails in "Bad Taste"?
Four teenagers rent a cabin out in the woods and head into redneck land for some partying, drugs and sex in a country trip that's destined for disaster. Haven't these kids seen "The Evil Dead"?
Once in the woods, though, things take a turn for the more contemporary. Instead of the serial killer/backwoods horror flick you might be expecting, "Cabin Fever" transforms into a nasty little tale of flesh-eating viruses (based on the real-life necrotising fasciitis, the "flesh eating strep" that kills around 1,500 in the US alone each year, apparently).
Bumping into an old hermit who's leaking blood and pus from every orifice, the kids freak out, kill him, then find themselves falling sick one by one. Panic, enforced quarantine and paranoia quickly set in as debut director Eli Roth gives us a mental combination of "The Fly", "28 Days Later" and, rather surprisingly, "Dumb & Dumber".
Nasty, yucky, and absolutely hilarious, this isn't the 70s homage that Roth thinks it is, nor the timely SARS movie he's been claiming, but an AIDS-panic gross out horror-comedy (it took eight years to get to the screen - no wonder the theme seems so dated) that treats sex and the body as objects of absolute revulsion.
Taking maniacal pleasure in turning its hardbodied teens into gooey mush (highlights include a girl shaving her legs to bloody nothingness in the bath and a masturbation scene that's so squelchingly awful you'll be squirming in your seat), the film's main problem is that it can't decide whether it's straight horror, camp pastiche, or a gross-out comedy.
As it stands, it's a grab bag of the sick and the silly, the putrid and the puerile, the disturbing and the dense. Definitely unforgettable it's destined for cult classic status.
"Cabin Fever" opens in UK cinemas on Friday 10th October 2003.